Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One woman's portal

I'm not certain how satisfying this image is to look at, but it sure was fun putting it together!

... which of course raises the age old question: what is the purpose of art?  Eckhart Tolle says the purpose of all great art is to serve as a portal to the sacred.  But what might be one man's portal could be another person's wall -- and does it matter if it's a portal for the artist, or for the viewer?

We were talking today, in my spirituality class, about those pre-cognitive "truths" -- the knowings that we took in before we were old enough to evaluate them for actual truthfulness; the things that guide our daily decisions in ways we often fail to understand.

For example -- I have a pre-cognitive assumption that I only have value if I am efficient, useful, and accomplish things.  So something in me thinks everything I paint must be saleable -- a rather tall order for a relatively untutored artist -- and that something keeps me from just slapping paint around (efficient implies I don't waste much, you know).

So I thought, well, to circumvent the cost of paint and the fear of creating something not saleable, I'd copy paint from graffiti surfaces and slap that on a photograph instead -- it's easy enough to undo this sort of digital collage if I don't like it.  This way I get the freedom of throwing paint around on a surface without the mess or fear of wasting -- PLUS it doesn't matter if it's not saleable, as all it cost was time.

The fun and the sense of freedom I felt doing it -- because it was totally random, exploring, being silly, not worrying about a sale, and not wasting anything but time -- well, that felt almost sacred; creating as a bond with Creator.  So even as something as goofy as this can be a portal to the sacred for an artist who is trying to break through her blocks.  But I can hardly assume that this image will be taking you, the viewer, to that sacred space.

And I think that's how I've been operating; that I have a sort of sacred duty to create art that serves as a portal to the sacred.  Maybe this drive I've been experiencing, the drive to step from form into formless, is an attempt to assign value to finding my own portals; to strike a better balance between what pleases me and what pleases my viewers.  And something in me thinks there's a sweet spot... no, not thinks, KNOWS there'll be a sweet spot, a place where what gives me enormous satisfaction will satisfy a viewer as well.  I've found those moments before.  Maybe I'll find them again in new places?

It's worth a try...

1 comment:

Louise Gallagher said...

So.... I love slapping paint around. I am teaching myself the art of fearless creativity -- which means, being fearless in the use of paint including the quantity I use. LOL - waste not want not keeps surfacing and I move into it by not wasting paint but rather, casting it onto the canvas however it feels it wants to come. It's been a huge learning, and unlearning, experience for me!

thanks for these thoughts. You ignite my thinking.